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April 7th, 2013

Opening Weekend

Let's start with a recap:
Thursday 3/28: Final rehearsal in the workshop/rehearsal hall. This is a huge warehouse space in which we build the entire set and rehearse on it. This usually works well but this time there was a boatload of set pieces, furniture, lumber and power tools blocking "backstage" and "wings".

Friday 3/29: No rehearsal, no formal call to help finish the set

Saturday 3/30: No rehearsal, no formal call to help finish the set

Sunday 3/31: Load-out (break down the set, put it into trucks). I did not participate

Monday 4/1: Load-in (I have a day job). Full run-through set for 6:30. We did not actually start till after 8 because SM and director thought they needed to have extensive warm-ups and speeches. Did not get out till 11:30 when the Theater's union techs kicked us out. SM wanted to blabber forever.

Tuesday 4/2: Cue-to-cue. Normally this starts at 6:30 and is done by 11:30, but between needless warm-ups and SM blathering, we started after 8, and only got through Act I by 11:30. Follow-up note from director the next morning claims "this was the plan". Bullshit. The director, conductor and SM were all stopping and restarting and running way too much of the scenes. Major train wreck.

Wednesday 4/3: Run-through with costumes and makeups and all the tech stuff. Call at 6:30, curtain at 8. People arrived between 6:30 and 7:30 (day jobs, downtown traffic). Costumes were not all completed, but very very close and there was a full costume crew on hand to Make Things Right. The theater has a resident make-up expert** who had given us charts and info on what to buy if we wanted, but he also had enough makeup for anyone who needed. And he did people's makeup if they asked, or if they needed something special. No Act II tech, they just faked it. Curtain was at about 8:30, we were done about 11:10. SM blabbered until 11:30.

Thursday 4/4: Final Dress: 6:30 call for dance warmups, 7:00 Act II opening run-through, 7:15 Vocal warm-ups, 8:00 curtain. Director added a new dance bit for some of the women. Everything was 15-30 minutes late. My solo got mucked up when a line of dancers entered at the wrong time and nearly ran me over. Done at 11:15. I walked out, ignoring the call for notes. I had had it with the SM, and the director always emails the useful notes the next day.

Friday 4/5: No nothing. We really needed a preview, lines rehearsal, or a tech run-though.

Saturday 4/6: Opening night
It felt like another rehearsal. The show is not ready. People are blowing lines, missing entrances. Now that we have the full set, it's easy to see that the director's vision to have everyone on stage as much as possible is not practical. A major part of the problem is he wanted to have moving trees, on sliders, moved by actresses inside them. His brother the carpenter deigned and built them, twice as large as the director thought they would be. Director doesn't know how to read a blueprint. But another part of the problem is all through rehearsals we had handfuls of people not there, sick or conflicts or the call sheet was unclear. Now that we are performing, all the bodies are there, and they take up more room than we have available.

The orchestra, on the other hand, is superb. And we have a pair of excellent bagpipers who trade off (one per show). It would have been nice if the director had given them the same directions for their one on-stage scene as he gave us.

This was our first time running the show without stopping.

We had one tech FAIL - a 12-foot-tall wood-and-cardboard tree fell over during one of the (unnecessarily) extended dance numbers. I was downstairs at the time and missed the fun.

The audience was great.

Sunday 4/7: Matinee. Call at 12:30, same pattern as opening, but this time we were only 10 minutes late. No major tech issues. One actress missed being in the drunk scene, I will have to check FB to see if she is okay. I don't remember seeing her after that scene. Almost sold-out house, not as vocal as last night, but they gave the orchestra a HUGE ovation at the start of Act II. Our curtain call is too long, and the women's chorus take too long doing their individual bows. Both shows we do a meet and greet afterwards, Saturday I only saw two people I knew, found out later about a third person who wasted her time chatting up the Guy Who Dies. Today there were at least a dozen, and there were a ton of redheads I didn't know. Official Photos time after the meet & greet, I got out a little after 5. I think I can actually be seen in those pix.

All in all, the show is okay, not on my list of Worst Theater Experiences, nor is it one of the best. I don't think there will be any lasting friendships. I'm thinking this will be the last show I perform in, but I may try to get a directing gig.

Plans for tomorrow:
Work
BASFA (?)

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